2

votes

In Japan for a week - paleo take-a-long food

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 26, 2012 at 8:24 PM

Will be visiting for a week. Last time I went to Japan 4 years ago I was not Paleo oriented. I know the Japanese diet is much less toxic than the SAD and plenty of seafood and seaweed. My concern is portion size and access to Saturated Fat. I am considering taking along powdered goat milk, coconut oil and maybe some jerky. Are there any other travelers that might have some good ideas?

422648e6284cc69bc96f1caeda0aa8b0

(0)

on August 16, 2012
at 01:33 PM

only prob with gyudon is the sweet/soy sauce they douse it in to cook it, and the bad quality beef they use. its a good choice if desparate i think.

422648e6284cc69bc96f1caeda0aa8b0

(0)

on August 16, 2012
at 01:32 PM

i've ordered just the eggs/toppings at a ramen shop, it isn't too bad to be honest, and i felt better afterwards than if i had forced myself to eat the ramen. Particularly at the more upmarket places, the toppings are super delicious on their own :). Also have eaten just fish off top of the sushi, and just the filling from a sandwich.

166f449979d83186bd876e8f466d0a69

(1317)

on March 27, 2012
at 12:43 PM

No, even if you're there for a short time and only eating out, there's really enough meat, fish and vegetables on offer, both in restaurants and convenience stores. I promise!

3b0b95dfc6dc5c18e535945f4aab0866

(2392)

on March 27, 2012
at 11:07 AM

Agreed one can be paleo in Japan. My concern, is someone there on a short trip won't have all the time in the world to source everything they need paleo, and will likely be on a whirlwind doing other things. On a long trip, where there is time to catch a breath, paleo is possible.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on March 27, 2012
at 09:50 AM

I like wildwabbit's answer, but if I were you I'd bring a bag of gelatin and a pot of coconut oil with me. All the rest (fish, rice, fruit, shellfish, ...) are pretty easy to find.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on March 26, 2012
at 10:27 PM

+1 for eating good local food and not bringing pre-packaged paleo treats. You can make paleo work without constant dosing of coconut oil and grass-fed beef.

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7 Answers

11
3b0b95dfc6dc5c18e535945f4aab0866

on March 26, 2012
at 09:58 PM

I suggest you take a break from Paleo for a week, first and foremost. It will be just too hard and you are more likely to cause yourself needless time explaining yourself, making things difficult for your hosts (if any), and possibly even end up compromising your nutrition because you are unlikely to find there nor bring enough of what you need, and you don't want to exhaust yourself by the end of the trip.

Instead, focus on TRADITIONAL prepared Japanese foods. This is something you can insist on with your Japanese hosts (if any) that they will appreciate (though may humbly try to avoid giving you something so plain to them). And it will be healthy. Eat rice. Eat fish. Eat Natto. But stay away from processed crap as much as possible (and there is just as much, perhaps more, processed crap in Japan than in the US).

Watch portions but not so scrupulously you short yourself on calories just to avoid eating rice. But yes, don't overdo it either.

And in the end, the break in Paleo can be healthy for you, so long as you are eating the local, traditional, prepared foods.

I make several trips to Asia a year, of 7-10 days each. I can tell you, its not worth it to bring your way of eating with you (unless for medical reasons you must) as it is unsustainable in some countries particularly for short periods of time.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on March 26, 2012
at 10:27 PM

+1 for eating good local food and not bringing pre-packaged paleo treats. You can make paleo work without constant dosing of coconut oil and grass-fed beef.

2
166f449979d83186bd876e8f466d0a69

(1317)

on March 27, 2012
at 05:50 AM

I live here and think it's really pretty possible to eat paleo in Japan. You can easily find jerky here- as someone said, the convenience stores rule and you can find things like dried squid, hard boiled eggs, fresh salads, chicken squewers (crappy quality and in a hot box but good in a pinch) and so on. Coconut oil is harder to find, so bring it if you want.

Korean barbeque (known as yaki-niku) and yakitori restaurants are probably your best bet but you'll be able to find something to eat at all but the sandwich-only cafes. There is far more fatty pork and beef here than people imagine; I do cook a lot but don't have a problem getting enough saturated fat when eating out.

Have a great time.

166f449979d83186bd876e8f466d0a69

(1317)

on March 27, 2012
at 12:43 PM

No, even if you're there for a short time and only eating out, there's really enough meat, fish and vegetables on offer, both in restaurants and convenience stores. I promise!

3b0b95dfc6dc5c18e535945f4aab0866

(2392)

on March 27, 2012
at 11:07 AM

Agreed one can be paleo in Japan. My concern, is someone there on a short trip won't have all the time in the world to source everything they need paleo, and will likely be on a whirlwind doing other things. On a long trip, where there is time to catch a breath, paleo is possible.

2
Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e

on March 26, 2012
at 08:46 PM

First and foremost, may I come please? Gahh want to GO! Someday.. anyway:

If you're not stuck with a tight budget then I would hit the supermarkets there in addition to maybe a few staples from here. You know the usual.. jerky, Lara or Kind bars, hard cheese/cured meat et al, for grabbing and munching. Just verify that it's all safe to bring in so your goods aren't yanked when entering the country.

From friends who are frequent visitors, the markets aren't too far off from ours and the convenience stores rule. Fermented food heaven! If you eat out the quality there is top notch - so aside from sugar in sauces, and maybe a few other items, you are in a pretty good spot. A week isn't a long time so enjoy yourself as much as you can :)

OH! You could also get a celiac card in Japanese and whip that out at places. You've been there before so I'm not quite sure if you're fluent or not, or if anyone in your party is, but thought to mention. Have fun!

0
422648e6284cc69bc96f1caeda0aa8b0

on August 16, 2012
at 01:29 PM

Just wanted to make a correction, as someone living here and doing paleo.

Yakitori, you can order with SHIO (salt) instead of TARE (bbq flavoured sauce).

I know the next part is going to make me sound a bit crazy.... but just wanted to share my experiences with you.

I have on occasion only ordered the toppings at a Ramen shop - sometimes my friends want to go and it's unavoidable. I say that I'm not that hungry, and then order two of the eggs and the fat belly pork. Have also ordered Gyoza (chinese dumplings) which i know isn't purely paleo but still better for me than a big bowl of ramen I think. The stuffing is pork mince, sometimes cabbage and sometimes nira, a green leafy garlic flavoured vegetable.

I would also recommend shabu shabu and hot pot places, mainly because a lot of them have all you can eat vege bar offers, and the meat comes unseasoned, as do the eggs.

Yakiniku (BBQ places) either Korean OR Japanese are the same as the hot pot places. And most have photo menus, makes it very easy to order.

I have also eaten just the fish off the top in sushi bars, (the cheaper ones with the sushi trains). A few strange looks, and the pile of rice at the end is a bit odd on the plate, but no-one has ever questioned me about it.

If you go somewhere a little more upmarket, you can order a "sashimi moriawase" - a selection of sashimi. That will come with no rice at all. and again, you can use salt rather than soy sauce with this too.(although it takes some getting used to).

Another favourite is hot-stone roasted sweet potato. Not always available year long, but come Autumn, available a lot of places including regular supermarkets. Usually the roaster is somewhere around the outside edge of the supermarket, so you should be able to find.

My experience has been that eating out is not such a mine-field, except the cafes sometimes are difficult if you are super hungry. I have bought the sandwich with the most recognisable salad in it and then eaten the filling and tossed the rest. again, no questions asked.

For sure, it's better to say that you have a wheat allergy, than try explaining celiac disease to people. The concept of a nut allergy is only just catching on.

Food here is really tasty, and a lot of it (depending on the restaurant) comes in a very whole, recognisable form. Hope you enjoy your time here!

0
3f3236d1f951d4b4c25eff387699a905

(554)

on March 27, 2012
at 09:10 AM

I'd say you're screwed. Jerky, bacon etc are highly processed, meat is very expensive, portions are small and most of the food is carbs in the form of rice or noodles. Eating out isn't very expensive, but the meat is less than a bite. Your best bet is eat all you want yakiniku which has soy sauce. Convenience stores are the worst. They're the Mecca of processed stuff, sugar and grains. Bringing stuff in is probably illegal. You might get good food at finer restaurants, but it's not very allergy friendly and most places don't know anything about different diets, not even vegetarian. If you're just coming for a week, just screw all dietary precautions cause otherwise all your time will be consumed trying to find the right food.

0
A7925ab8ea44e6d4d5d7c6f202632c6c

(404)

on March 27, 2012
at 04:16 AM

taking your own food to anywhere is completely retarded: no food around - a good opportunity to fast ;

besides, I would have had worries about keeping it paleo, rather if i had to go to the USA (never have been to, and not even sure such a country actually exists): now, I live in japan, and can say that thy ought not worry about being able to find paleo - you can find some paleo stuff in any konbini, or go to "yoshinoya", and order some "gyuudon" (eat the rice if you're on PHD), or order it "raisu-nuki" - they will give you just beef; sashimi in any supermarket, etc.

422648e6284cc69bc96f1caeda0aa8b0

(0)

on August 16, 2012
at 01:33 PM

only prob with gyudon is the sweet/soy sauce they douse it in to cook it, and the bad quality beef they use. its a good choice if desparate i think.

0
D5dff6376e17373751ccf4a10aaa0b34

(274)

on March 26, 2012
at 09:14 PM

I wouldn't bring any meat or dairy products in case you end up getting searched at customs and have to explain a bunch of stuff...probably not worth the hassle. Coconut oil would probably be fine, although if you have enough time on the ground it is probably very simple to get some from one of the stores, as long as you are in Tokyo or one of the larger cities. I think its going to be hard to explain all your requirements to server in a restaurant, so a lot of this depends on how tight you are with your diet. If you can tolerate this and that I think it will be pretty easy (I have had lots of omelets in Japan, who, like the french prefer them at meals that aren't breakfast). But if you absolutely cannot tolerate gluten or soy or rice, etc then I would have a card printed up as suggested by Jesuisjuba, as English is not really evenly understood around even in Tokyo. As for portions, i wouldn't worry about it...you can go to any Izakaya and order until you are bursting (might be a bit spendy though!). There are lots of great steak places and you can order all kinds of cool organ bits as the izakayas (chicken livers and hearts and stuff). Portions are huge at a lot of places, but a lot of those places are ramen oriented lunch spots, so really tough for options I think. I wonder what would happen if you just ordered Ramen toppings at a Ramen shop (hard boiled eggs and some meat).

422648e6284cc69bc96f1caeda0aa8b0

(0)

on August 16, 2012
at 01:32 PM

i've ordered just the eggs/toppings at a ramen shop, it isn't too bad to be honest, and i felt better afterwards than if i had forced myself to eat the ramen. Particularly at the more upmarket places, the toppings are super delicious on their own :). Also have eaten just fish off top of the sushi, and just the filling from a sandwich.

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